How Child Pornography Offenders are Caught
Law enforcement agencies investigating child pornography can be local, state, federal and International. All of these law enforcement agencies share information they may have about individuals illegally involved with child pornography. For instance, if law enforcement detects a person transmitting either a picture or movie file containing illegal images, the internet service provider (ISP) address associated with the transmission of the illegal file will indicate the subscriber and address of the account transmitting (sending or receiving) the illegal file. With one simple subpoena to the ISP, the police will know the subscriber name and address. If the ISP transmission information from the downloaded or uploaded file is too old or “stale” to get a warrant to search, the local law enforcement agency may simply show up unannounced at the subscribers house and start to ask questions to gather evidence as to who may have transmitted the illegal files. If the information about the file is not stale, the police will then simply apply for a search warrant based upon probable cause that their were images recently transmitted from the subscribers address. The police with a warrant in hand, would then be allowed to seize all computers or storage devices including CD’s, DVD’s, Blu-ray, jump or back up hard drives at the subscriber address and search them for illegal content. Eyewitness identification may also be used by law enforcement to investigate possession and distribution of the illegal pornography; a member of the household or a co-worker who has witnessed the illegal content could also tip police to the presence of illicit content. Law enforcement will also use specialized software programs that are capable of finding illegal images or movies even if they have been purposefully deleted by the user.
In all investigations, if the illegal content is found then law enforcement must prove either by direct or circumstantial evidence which person at the subscriber address stored and/or transmitted the illegal files across the internet.
Law enforcement officers investigating child pornography maintain a constant presence in chat rooms, blogs and social groups posing as a individual who wants to trade illegal files. They will also monitor peer to peer file sharing networks and look for illegal files available for downloading and seek out those who may be downloading them. A large number of movies and pictures of minors involved in sex acts have been documented and victims identified which aides law enforcement in there investigation especially when it comes to peer-to-peer networks.
Under Florida State laws Chapter 847.0137 Transmission of pornography by electronic device or equipment prohibited; which makes it a third degree felony charge for possessing, viewing, or controlling child pornography. Remember that is one count for one picture or one still frame of a video. For instance 10 pictures is 10 counts which could equal 50 years. The statutory maximum is up to five years in prison and carries a fine for up to $5,000 for one count. Being involved in the production or promotion of such material, however, can carry a sentence of up to 15 years imprisonment and a larger fine as production is a second degree felony. Most jurisdictions and state attorney’s offices seek incarceration in state prison as well with a mandatory designation of sex offender upon a conviction.
Possession or distribution of child pornography is a very serious and often embarrassing ordeal. Securing representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney with technical know how is essential in cases such as these; not only to defend your rights, but also to protect your constitutional rights if they have been violated in any investigation techniques such as search and seizure or questioning of suspects. Even experienced high end felony attorneys can become confused as to how an investigation was actually conducted and become mired down in the complexities of a highly technical computer and internet related investigation. Can law enforcement employ the use of pop-up hacking, malware, tracking cookies or viruses to determine if you have child pornography on your computer? If the attorney you are consulting for representation doesn’t know the difference between a flash packet or a MPEG 4, a GIF or JPEG or doesn’t know the meaning of malware or what an “ISP” is then they will do little good in defending you. You need a criminal defense attorney who not only knows the complexities of the criminal law both state and federal but also knows the intricacies of a computer and the Internet. Attorney Darren D. Shull has the ability and knowledge to work through the intricacies of a case involving a client accused of a computer crime to defend and challenge the case in court if law enforcement has a made a technological or constitutional misstep.
Child Pornography Attorney
If you need advice or representation when you are accused of a computer crime like this and need a child pornography attorney, call The Law Offices of Darren D. Shull, P.A. to help you navigate the complexities of federal and Florida law and fight for you not against you.